6 TED Talks That Are Surprisingly Relevant to Customer SuccessWho doesn’t love a good TED Talk? Customer Success isn’t just about Customer Success, it’s about skills, learning, growth, people, and much more. Here are some TED Talks that might not appear to be directly related with the stuff you do on a day-to-day basis, but that will inspire you and help you get even better at Customer Success.

Learning Empathy as a Skill

On the list of Customer Success Manager must-haves, empathy figures among the most highly regarded and badly required skills. Empathy is the ability to step into another person’s shoes and to understand a situation from their standpoint.

Dr. Riess, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School explores one’s ability to learn empathy and the results of doing so in a medical environment. In The Power of Empathy Dr. Riess reflects on the fundamentals of empathy, and how doctors acting according to these principles helped their patients achieve better outcomes. You might be able to integrate some of these principles for your next onsite customer meetings, or even to adapt them to your day-to-day to foster better customer relations.

Proactively Dealing with Stress

In How to Stay Calm When You Know You’ll Be Stressed, Neuro Scientist Daniel Levitin explores the ways in which one can be proactive about the eventuality of decision-making in stressful, overwhelming situations. The key is to recognize that under stress, you won’t be at your best. By figuring out all the things that could go wrong, and deciding ahead of time how to either handle or prevent them, you will be on a much safer path to success.

In the context of Customer Success, think about the questions that will help you move the needle in various situations, and practice – or better, plan – your thinking ahead of time. With your team, prep some worst-case scenario, high-stress playbooks: software outage, prioritization of tasks, dealing with upset customer, or questions you can’t answer.

Getting Your Point Across

Getting your point across is important as a team member, as a Customer Success Manager, and as a customer advocate (and hopefully, you’re all 3).

In How to Speak so that People Want to Listen, Julian Treasure shares what he lists as “the 7 deadly sins of talking” – some of them seem awfully relevant to Customer Success: making excuses and shifting blame, exaggerating, lying, and dogmatism. If you’re struggling getting heard by your customers, you’ll most definitely get some good tips out of this.

The Real Power of Leaders

This talk is valuable for company leader, to team lead, to CSM – pretty much everyone. In Why Good Leaders Make you Feel Safe, Management theorist Simon Sinek suggests that good leaders foster a safe environment in which everyone will go to lengths for each other. This holds for company culture, but also for customer relations. In the end, aren’t Customer Success Managers leading their customers to success?

Solving Problems Backwards

Retrograde analysis is a style of problem-solving in which one works backward from the outcome they want to achieve. Chess Grandmaster Maurice Ashley applies this theory – which is widely used in chess – to real-world problem-solving. In Working Backward to Solve Problems, we learn that thinking about the endgame can make all the difference in the way you look at a problem.

As a Customer Success Manager, step one should always be to set goals with your customer, and to define success – why did your customer buy your product in the first place? Now, look at the journey backward, and re-evaluate your strategy to get them there.

Getting Out of Negativity

Is it easier to be negative than it is to be positive? Dr. Alison Ledgerwood conducted extensive research about how certain ways of thinking stick with people more than others. The research showed that once one thinks about a loss, they can’t seem to think about the relative win – they’re stuck in the original negative frame.

How is Getting Stuck in the Negatives relevant to you and Customer Success? Have you ever felt like getting back from a poor onboarding experience resulted in a much more tumultuous customer journey? Turns out, your customer isn’t being salty, they’re just stuck in a negative frame. Customer Success bears the responsibility of keeping up the good spirits and conveying positivity throughout the ups and downs, and this theory can help you do just that.

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